548 State Wildlife Management Areas • 1 State Natural Area • 1 National Park
2 National Forests • 7 National Wildlife Refuges
There are over 60 State Parks in the state of Minnesota. Hosting 4,239 campsites, 1,234 miles of trails and 33 beaches to soak up the sunshine. What makes my family love these wooded getaways? Staying at a State Park feels as though you have stepped into a forest filled with unexpected nature bliss. Last summer we experienced a raccoon who spooked the heck out of me, we found hidden treasures, Ruth chased birds for hours and we also realized walking a mile long trail can feel like 50 miles with little kids!
It’s Adventure Camping
Like most things in life, it is what you make of it and while we camp in many different types of surroundings our favorite has been at our State Parks. We make sure to get the kids pumped up to find as many critters as they can, hike as far as they can go and we encourage them all to skip as many rocks as they can throw.
Some Of The Best State Park Camping Sites
Father Hennepin State Park41294 Father Hennepin Park Road Isle, Minnesota 56342 website
Placed on 320 acres, along side Minnesota’s Mille Lacs Lake, Father Hennepin State Park is a fisherman’s dream destination! However, it isn’t just for fishermen. The beach is kid friendly with a small sized park, a large sandy playground and tons of picnic benches for afternoon lunches. The campground sites are just large enough for the type of camping you are planning (tent, rv or trailer), yet they are also spread far enough from your neighbor. Beautiful trials weave in and out throughout the tall trees and it is very common to sight wildlife among the campgrounds.
Wild River State Park39797 Park Trail
Center City, MN 55012 website
Just as you think you have seen the most beautiful State Parks you are surprised to find, yet another one! The entrance to Wild River State Park is stunning. I loved everything about this State Park. Loaded with rare plant life and flying bald eagles you can’t find a more natural escape from the cities. A Minnesota jewel in terms of camping, hiking, trails and more!
Afton State Park
6959 Peller Avenue South
Hastings, MN 55033
Hold on to your hats and make sure to pack your backpacks light! There is only one way to describe Afton State Park – Roughing It! A good old fashion healthy hike into the woods is how you will gain access to your campground. My husband Ryan is itching to get us out there. Most visitors will take a day trip out to Afton State Park for an exciting hike or to spend a day in the St. Croix. Whatever your planning this park will not disappoint.
Lake Carlos State Park2601 County Road 38 Northeast
Carlos, MN 56319 website
If you enjoy all types of water, Lake Carlos State Park will be a place you love. From a tamarack bog to marshes, woodland ponds, and lakes you can find your perfect landscape. For the campers there are two different types of campgrounds, the lower and the upper sections. The lower section is near the lake water and the upper is more of a wooded area. Hosting many sites, including horseman camping, you should be able to find a nice cozy spot to call home away from home.
Itasca State Park36750 Main Park Drive
Park Rapids, MN 56470 website
I can’t list off some of the best Minnesota State Park campgrounds without a mention of Itasca State Park. This beautiful stretch of land brings in more than 80,000 people a year. It is also the oldest State Park in Minnesota since it was started in 1891! Indulge yourself with the rich history of the beginning of the great Mississippi River or take part in one of the many programs and activities hosted at Itasca State Park. Planning a stay here is more than just another camping trip, it’s an education!